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Why does Spider-Man's web stick to objects, but not to Spider-Man's hands? When he shoots a strand out, it sticks to buildings. He grabs the strand and swings, and is able to let go. How is this possible?

  • possible duplicate of How does Spider-Man control his webbing? – AncientSwordRage Apr 15 '12 at 22:06
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    @arunborn2win41 Spiderman has been a member of the Avengers in the comics, just not in the movies... So that edit depends on what Major Stackings meant. – Izkata Nov 5 '13 at 13:31
  • Special gloves. Sticky web only at one end. – Lobo Oct 21 '18 at 7:00
17

He has several kinds of webbing; the stickiness has to do with how it's formed.

There's lots of info on how his shooters work on the Marvel Wiki, but to break it down:

Take a look at the Web-Shooters page on the aforementioned Wiki; it basically says what he has said a few times in the comics; they have settings that allow him to adjust what he shoots.

The effect of the very small turbine pump vanes is to compress (shear) the web fluid and then force it, under pressure, through the spinneret holes which cold-draws it (stretches it: the process wherein nylon gains a four-fold increase in tensile strength), then extrudes it through the air where it solidifies. As the web fluid exits the spinneret holes, it is attracted to itself electrostatically and thus can form complex shapes. The spinneret holes have three sets of adjustable, staggered openings around the turbine which permit a single web line, a more complex, spun web line, and a thick stream.

Web-Shooters

Web-Shooter close-up

So, what we have is:

  • Globs of sticky webbing --> a thick stream.
  • Lines of swinging webbing --> spun web line
  • Sticky lines of webbing. --> single web line

What he swings on is the 'Spun Web Line'; it's extruded in such a way as to yield a very strong, but not particularly sticky line; something to do with the 'Spinning' seems to dry it out quickly. (It should be mentioned, however, that the first fraction of a second of the shot is probably the 'glob' type, to allow it to stick to it's target. Referred to as the 'attachment disk' below.)

To quote that page again:

On contact with air, the long-chain polymer knits and forms an extremely tough, flexible fiber with extraordinary adhesive properties. The web fluid's adhesive quality diminishes rapidly with exposure to air. (Where it does not make contact with air, such as the attachment disk of the web-shooter, it remains very adhesive.)

Now, the physics of it are another issue.. but that's the 'canon' answer :)

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    It's never explored/explained in the Raimi films aside to say that he has organic web shooters. IIRC, the only time anyone is sort of "stuck" in the middle of the webbing instead of being caught with an end is MJ at the end of the first film. Hard to say if she's just sitting in the netting/webbing or actually stuck. The new reboot, however, is more accurate to the comic with him building mechanical ones. Very possible that he has multiple types of webbing there. – phantom42 Apr 16 '12 at 1:38
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Snipping a bit from Jeff's answer which is from the Web-shooter's article on the marvel wiki.

On contact with air, the long-chain polymer knits and forms an extremely tough, flexible fiber with extraordinary adhesive properties. The web fluid's adhesive quality diminishes rapidly with exposure to air. (Where it does not make contact with air, such as the attachment disk of the web-shooter, it remains very adhesive.)

The webbing sticks to the building first, then spider-man grabs it, once it's lost it's adhesiveness. As it struck the wall whilst it was adhesive, the part attaching to it won't have had as much contact with air, and would remain adhesive, unlike the piece Peter grabs.

  • Since the part that strikes the building is the oldest, having been exposed to the air longer, wouldn't it lose it's adhesiveness before the part he grabs? – Major Stackings Apr 15 '12 at 23:45
  • No, it doesn't lose it that fast, it takes a fraction of a second to hit the target, then he waits a fraction longer. – AncientSwordRage Apr 16 '12 at 7:51
  • Anyone want to explain the down vote so that I can improve the answer? – AncientSwordRage May 5 '12 at 16:51
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Spider Man can also consciously choose what he wants to stick to. A perfect example is, when he wants to stick to building or whatever, he does, he doesn't stick to an enemy when he punches them. Also, its possible that he either doesn't stick to his web, he just grabs tightly, or he does stick to his web but detaches right before he wants to jump. And as all the other posters stated, he makes each web differently

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    The question isn't asking why Spidey doesn't stick to his webs, it's what his webs don't stick to him. – Jeff Feb 7 '13 at 0:51
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It is possible that Spider-Man has or has invented some type of adhesive resistant clothing that he wears that lets him not stick to webs

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    It's certainly possible, but can you offer any specific evidence that this is actually the case? – Valorum Oct 19 '18 at 23:08
  • In the comics, at least, there have been rare occasions where he's had to use his webbing without the gloves from his costume, or has had to use a costume other than his own. I recall one time where he wound up wearing a store-bought Halloween costume (which was actually rather good - at the time, for kids, a Spider-Man costume would've had a mask, and a smock with a picture of Spider-Man on it). He would have wound up dangling over Manhattan off the side of a building for an hour if the only thing that keeps him from sticking is his own costume. – RDFozz Oct 19 '18 at 23:12
  • And also - in the comics he's thought about how he developed his web fluid a number of times, without once mentioning how he also developed a costume that let it not stick to him. – RDFozz Oct 19 '18 at 23:14
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Ok well here is another theory, maybe only the ends of the webs are adhesive because you mostly see not grab the very end of his web.

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    Which, is part of what's said in the accepted answer. – RDFozz Oct 20 '18 at 23:58
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    You should edit that into your previous answer rather than making a new post; you can do so by clicking the edit button below the text. – Jenayah Oct 21 '18 at 0:57

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